Increasing coordination between European Union member states and other countries will create a stronger future for the EU, said Richard C. Wright, former ambassador and head of the European Commission’s delegation to Russia, during a talk at the Center for European Studies Tuesday.
Wright focused on the EU’s foreign policy during his lecture, saying that its lack of unity hinders its ability to fulfill its potential as a major world player.
“There is no doubt that the EU currently punches below its weight. The whole is much less than the sum of its parts,” said Wright, who is currently a fellow at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and the Director for Conflict Prevention and Security Policy at the European External Action Service.
Wright said the recent vote on Palestine’s admission to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization revealed an “embarrassing” disunity of EU member states, as France voted for admission, Germany voted against, and England abstained.
The EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy leads to ambiguity between the official EU stance and the policies of individual member states.
“The question is ‘How common is common?’ The word common doesn’t mean united,” Wright said.
The need for coordination applies to the EU’s relations with other countries as well, he said.
By joint strategizing through regular, institutionalized meetings and consultations, the US and the EU can improve their international crisis management, leading to more positive outcomes, he said.
“We can do a lot more together,” he said.
About 25 people attended the talk, titled “The Interaction of the EU’s Common Foreign Security Policy and National Foreign Policy: The Case of Cooperation with the US.”